Life is Integral – Creativity is Integral

Nature’s Integral Creativity

Nature is creative. Nature is polarity. Life emerges from polarity. Humans are nature’s creative creations. Humans sparkle life by polarity. Creativity is the same, as an act of humans.

Just look outside and around you, you will see two kind of clusters of things: natural and artificial ones. You will see nature blooming in the most creative ways and you will mostly see human nature creating artifacts, unnatural products trying to survive in the middle of nature. How can we, humans learn from nature and truly mimic its creative being?

If you look inside your common business environment, you will probably see and hear forms of “crowd”-working: cloud computing, crowd-funding, crowd-sourcing, self management leadership and so on. They are all forms in which humans try to mimic nature into organizing themselves, becoming better as a species. The nature of work in itself is re-organizing once more after we took all the farmers from fields and put them into factories and after we took them from the factories and put them into offices; nowadays there’s a third wave of getting them out into their homes, working remotely or into co-working spaces and so on. Each time, the natural movement of the market created new jobs; nothing disappeared but we believed and were scared it would.

We try to copy it only because we understand that it is complete. Nature does not need anything else to be and humans are just a part of it. All our trials are made to find our better place within nature.

Just recently we understood what the word “ecology” really means, what the theory of complexity states about the cosmos, what our place and role on Earth might be. Only now we are on the verge of transcending our current understanding of life towards a higher stage. And from this stage, we can see nature through a kind of a window with four panes, each of them showing us only a part of the whole. One is the pane showing us the mysterious energy of life, the sap in everything. Also, we can see through another window that there are different kinds of sap leading to different kinds of its manifestation (plants, insects, animals, humans) – and this is the third pane. And lastly, there is a pane showing us the patterns of all these, the fractal organization of everything into a giant and complex biostructure.

 

Metaphor

Imagine you are looking through this window having 4 panes of glass. If you look through each one of the panes, you see just 25% of the reality beyond the window. Through each of the 4 panes, you are seeing only part of reality. Sometimes we view life extremely self-centered, or through the lens of our community, family, circles of trust, or through the one of our facts, results and deeds or through our pattern of life, meaning of life, system or process of life.

Ken Wilber is considered to be the greatest philosopher of our times. His published were published worldwide and the integral theory which he continues to develop is constantly evaluated as …. well, integral.

„What if we took literally everything that all the various cultures have to tell us about human potential – about spiritual growth, psychological growth, social growth – and put it all on the table?What if we attempted, based on extensive cross-cultural study, to use all of the world’s great traditions to create a composite map, a comprehensive map, an all-inclusive or integral map that included the best elements from all of them” (Ken Wilber, „The integral vision”, Shambhala Publications, Inc., p. 16).

Ken Wilber states that the ones able to see the reality through all the 4 panes are the stress-free and blessed ones. But our vast majority are acting (one pane) based on what others (our circle of friends) say (another pane). Only a few are really able to extract a complete meaning and understanding of their lives from the perspective upon all the artifacts they created (one pane) while others are extremely self-centered (one pane).

 

How are you being creative when seeing business life only through one or 2 panes?

The four panes are just a metaphor for the integrality of nature. As nature may be understood only by looking at it integrally. Otherwise we just continue to disregard the environmental issues or our impact onto our environment or the impact of the environment onto ourselves and so on (as we see only parts of the full spectrum). Regarding the last part, recent studies have shown, for example, our preference for high-ceilings and the reason was discovered to be that we feel and we are more “liberated” and “creative” when living and working as such.

Creativity is integral

It is the same with creativity and innovation. Creativity is integral as creativity is part of the nature which is integral.

You have no chance to the greatest ideas if you disregard the integral soil of creativity.

When Wilber he was no more than 23, he theorized the AQAL. And now we have it and may operate with it. AQAL stands for “all quadrants all levels”, but equally connotes “all lines”, “all states” and “all types”. An account or theory is said to be AQAL, and thus integral if it accounts for or makes reference to all four quadrants and four major levels in Wilber’s quadrants, described below.

Upper-Left (UL)

“I” (The Interior of the Individual) / Intentional

Creative Thinking and Feeling

Upper-Right (UR)

“It” (The Exterior of the Individual) / Behavioral

Creative Behaviors

Lower-Left (LL)

“We” (The Interior of the Collective) / Cultural

Shared Creativity, Creative Culture

Lower-Right (LR)

“Its” (The Exterior of the Collective) / Social

Systemic Creativity, Processes


The entire AQAL system is a lot more complicated but for our endeavor it is enough to
say that creativity is integral. How come?

Some view creativity as a single man’s talent, genius or perseverance (UL quadrant). Some view creativity only in the creative things (innovations) and some view creativity as the tools to be creative (UR quadrant), some view creativity sparkling from the exchange of ideas among people (LL quadrant) while others view creativity as a process (LR quadrant). But creativity is all these views together. If we can put them all on the table, we will have a complete definition and working process of creativity.

None of the four quadrants is independent of the others; on the contrary. They are all linked by what Steven Johnson citing Stuart Kauffman) called the “possible adjacent” – a certain limited space of possibilities arising from what currently “is” in all the 4 quadrants of an individual. Therefore, you can not have a total breakthrough from one of the quadrants but most probably just be able to open another door to another door to another door. There is a limited space of creative possibilities around one individual, predetermined by his current state, current way of behaving, current material resources, collective and culture and organizational system. But surely you, as a leader, have more chances to true breakthroughs when you combine several individuals with different “possible adjacent” spaces.

Polarity sparkles creativity

Between all the 4 quadrants, there are polarities and tensions as they represent four clearly different views of the world. A purely UL person will see the world through the glasses of the inner feelings and thoughts, thus projecting this inner world onto the outside one, while a purely LL person will see the world in a collective light, as if she is dissipated and dissimulated among others (family, friends, colleagues, etc., in larger and larger circles up to a certain point). A person described mostly by the UR quadrant will have a very active take on life and will see life as a series of „do’s” and „have’s” while the LR person is basically interested in the patterns, processes, flows and networks of life, in the general aerial understanding of the „do’s” and „have’s” of the many.

So, as you can clearly see, there might be polarities between people from 2 different quadrants. Still, life in its infinite wisdom arranged that our vast majority may see it and the world and ourselves through more than one single pane of the larger 4 panes window. Usually, you will understand the meaning of life from 2 or 3 perspectives. And this will give a kind of limited creativity in dealing with life, as this sightseeing is pretty solid during your life. You can associate this kind of a common beautiful life with a great symphony or a great stand-up comedy show: they both are great but still linear, imitable.

But, when you put people of different quadrants, of different life views in contact, sparks of creativity appear. And this might be assimilated with a jazz jam session or a show of theatrical improvisation, complex, fractalic, impossible to mimic.

Nature is fractalic, impossible to mimic; therefore, our intent is just to enlarge the spectrum of creativity to embrace all the possible forms of expression in a way more keen to the nature itself; and we do this by proposing using the natural polarities and differences of people.

This book is in fact an app (leadership creativity) to be used within the larger frame of the Integral Operating System (I.O.S.).

INTERIOR

EXTERIOR

INDIVIDUAL UL Quadrant – Consciousness, „What I Experience”

In general: Subjective reality, states of mind, psychological development, mental models, emotions, will

In business creativity: “imagination”, creativity beliefs, creative mental abilities, will to creatively solve problems, higher motivation and will

UR Quadrant – Behavior, „What others see that I Do”

In general: Objective reality, brain, visible biological features, activation of bodily systems

In business creativity: “innovation”, senses directed to creative input, neurobiology and genes of creative people, creative behaviors, creativity techniques, instruments to measure creativity

COLLECTIVE

LL Quadrant – Culture, „What WE Experience”

In general:Inter-subjective reality, shared values, culture and worldview, webs of culture, communication, relationships, norms, customs

In business creativity: pollination of ideas, creative cultures, creative collective emergence

LR Quadrant – Systems, „What others see that WE Do”

In general: Inter-objective reality, systems, environments, societal structures, economical systems, political orders

In business creativity: business framework to sparkle creativity, systems of idea generation, procedures for innovation implementation

 

 

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George Bragadireanu

George Bragadireanu

Coach

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